£14m fund to boost energy efficiency in Scotland

Up to 4,000 Scottish households could benefit from a new £14 million interest-free loan fund to make their homes more energy efficient.

For the first time, housing associations will be able to apply for loans from the government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) Loan Scheme.

Until now, the scheme has been open only to owner-occupiers and private landlords.

The cash will help meet the cost of installing energy efficiency measures, like internal or external wall insulation or hard to treat cavity walls.

Individual households or private sector landlords looking for a loan should call 0808 808 2282 FREE, or visit www.homeenergyscotland.org

For information on the registered social landlords loan scheme, visit http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/heeps-loan-for-RSLs

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “For the first time the HEEPS loans scheme will be open to housing associations. This will help ensure their homes meet the higher standards for energy efficiency that have been set by the Scottish Government.

Last year more than £8 million was saved in fuel bills thanks to the HEEPS scheme, covering 30,000 households.

Since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds on a raft of measures to help the most vulnerable people in our society heat their homes affordably.”

HS2 appoints Phase One Engineering Delivery Partner

With construction due to start next year, HS2 has selected a team consisting of CH2M, Atkins and SENER as Phase One Engineering Delivery Partner.

The CH2M/Atkins/SENER team will be fully integrated within HS2 Ltd in order to drive long term efficiencies across the design and build process.

Their role will focus on providing expert engineering and construction management support as well as assisting with preparation for the procurement of the main civils contracts for the London to Birmingham stage of the route.

All three companies have significant experience of driving project innovation and efficiency, with CH2M and Atkins involved in London’s challenging Crossrail project, and SENER bringing recent experience from Spain’s extensive high speed rail network.

Welcoming the news, HS2 Ltd Managing Director – Construction, Jim Crawford, said: “Today’s contract award marks an important milestone as we continue to move towards the start of construction in 2017.

It is vital that we constantly challenge our suppliers to ensure we deliver long-term value for money for the taxpayer as well as a world-class railway for all our passengers, stakeholders and communities along the line.

That’s why I’m pleased to welcome CH2M/Atkins/SENER to the team, and look forward to seeing HS2 benefiting from their considerable skills and experience of delivering world-class infrastructure on time and on budget.”

Commenting on the appointment, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The Engineering Delivery Partner will play a key role in bringing HS2 to fruition and CH2M/Atkins/SENER bring clear expertise.”

Galliford Try gets major new office project in Reading

Galliford Try gets major new office project in Reading

Galliford Try has been appointed to build the second phase of the Forbury Place development in Reading by clients M&G Real Estate and Bell Hammer in a £40 million contract.

The contract follows on from the successful first phase of Forbury Place, in the heart of Reading adjacent to the mainline rail station.

The new building will create an additional 185,000 sq ft of Category A office space, over seven floors, to be built on top of the basement car park already established in phase one.

Peter Truscott, Chief Executive of Galliford Try, said: “It is excellent news that M&G and Bell Hammer have trusted us once more to build the second phase of the prestigious Forbury Place.

The commercial sector remains a key driver for us, particularly in the south east, and we look forward to adding to our record of success with this major development.”

Fusion21 announces £300m maintenance work

Fusion21 announces £300m maintenance work

Fusion21 has announced the contractors and suppliers appointed to its national planned maintenance framework – offering a combined worth of up to £300 million over a four year period.

A total of 50 contractors have successfully secured a place on the Installation Works framework, worth up to £200 million over a four year period – whilst 47 material suppliers have been appointed to the Supply of Materials framework, worth up to £100 million over a four year period.

The Installation Works framework has four lots including: kitchen replacements; bathroom replacements; windows and doors and communal door installations – whilst the Supply of Materials framework covers 18 lots, and offers a variety of materials required for use in kitchen and bathrooms, heating, and windows and doors programmes.

Specific lots on the Supply of Materials framework range from kitchen units; to flooring and electric showers; in addition to smart heating systems; tiles; water treatment and communal entrance doors.

Nick Verburg, Procurement Manager at Fusion21, said: “Achieving a place on these frameworks is significant, as they will not be renewed until 2020.

For the first time, these frameworks offered installation elements split over two value bands – and as a result, we are delighted to see a number of small and medium sized enterprises appointed to the frameworks, and eligible to win work.”

Cardiff authorities sign £1.2bn investment deal

A £1.2 billion City Deal to unlock significant economic growth across the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) was formally signed this week.

Over its lifetime, local partners expect the City Deal to deliver as many as 25,000 new jobs, and £4 billion of private sector investment across the region.

The ten leaders of the local authorities in the CCR, the Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands, and First Minister Carwyn Jones signed the City Deal document in a ceremony at Admiral’s head office in Cardiff.

The City Deal will help boost economic growth by improving transport links, increasing skills, helping people into work and giving businesses the support they need to grow.

Welcoming the City Deal, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: “I want to create a devolution revolution around the UK and empower local leaders in Wales, so it’s fantastic to announce a historic City deal in the Cardiff City Region worth over £1.2bn.

This landmark deal is expected to create up to 25,000 jobs and leverage £4 billion of private sector investment by handing real power to local decision makers that are best placed to ensure the welsh economy is fit for the future.”

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said: “Cardiff is one of Europe’s youngest and most dynamic capital cities, with a growing international profile and a burgeoning reputation as a destination for businesses to invest.

The City Deal provides the springboard for Cardiff to emerge as a leading engine of growth in the UK. It will help transform Cardiff city region, expecting to unlock billions of pounds of private sector finance and deliver thousands of new jobs in South Wales.”

The First Minister of Wales

£500m Birmingham plan to create new jobs

£500m Birmingham plan to create new jobs

Birmingham Smithfield is to create a new place at the heart of the city, attracting millions of visitors and over £500 million of investment that will create new jobs.

Located in the heart of the city centre Birmingham Smithfield will become a unique and vibrant place for people to meet, live and shop.

The offer will include new retail markets, leisure uses, cafes, independent shops, restaurants and hotels, space and buildings for cultural events and activities and exciting modern living.

The plans will see over 300,000 sq. metres of new floorspace created, 2,000 new homes and a series of new squares, parks and gardens.

It will be a major boost to the regional economy bringing a further £500 million of investment, 3,000 jobs, millions more visitors and £470 million in additional GVA.

On the doorstep of the prime shopping area the already 40 million existing visitors will benefit from this brand new destination.

The site’s connectivity is also unrivalled with New Street Station, used by more than 51 million people a year, close-by and the high speed 2 terminus at Curzon only a short metro journey when it opens in 2026.

At the heart of Birmingham Smithfield will be a new home for the city’s retail markets. The new home will become a destination in its own right, with a mix of activity across a multi-level building bringing life throughout the day and night.

The plans will also include space for start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs harnessing the city’s creative talents and driving new economic activity.

Pedestrians and cyclists will be at the centre of the developments new routes with wide pedestrian boulevards and new streets reconnecting the area to the wider city centre.

Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is experiencing an unprecedented period of change as billions of pounds of investment transform the city’s economy.

And, with 3,000 new jobs and 2,000 new homes, Birmingham Smithfield puts people right at the heart of an exciting project that will in turn transform lives.”

£24m EU investment for energy projects

The FLEXIS five-year research programme, supported by £15 million of EU funds and led by Cardiff University, will investigate how flexible energy systems can meet modern-day energy challenges.

Involving collaborations with industry and research organisations in Wales, Europe and worldwide, the scheme will investigate how multiple energy sources can be supplied to consumers through more flexible and efficient systems that integrate traditional and renewable energy sources.

Leading researchers from the UK and Europe will also be recruited to Welsh universities, helping to strengthen Wales’ position as a leader in research and innovation within the energy industry.

The scheme will pave the way for the development of new technologies and job creation in the energy sector, and attract new companies to locate in Wales.

Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “Wales is set to benefit from around £1.8 billion of EU Structural Funds by 2020 to support business, innovation, infrastructure, skills, employment, and young people.

This is vital investment for our economy and labour market, and is a crucial source of funding in driving innovative research and the commercialisation of that research, creating sustainable jobs and growth.”

GRAHAM bags £22m Student Accommodation scheme

Work on the £22 million Buccleuch Place & Meadow Lane Student Accommodation Project for the University of Edinburgh is now underway.

GRAHAM Construction began preparatory work on the site in Scotland’s capital in December with the project completion expected by summer 2017.

The project involves the conversion and refurbishment of two grade B-listed tenement blocks and the construction of four new build accommodation blocks in the city’s Southside conservation area.

The conversion and refurbishment will see the current office accommodation at 1 to 6 & 7 to 13 Buccleuch Place transformed into 246 student bedrooms split into cluster flat arrangements.

Once completed, the project will create an outstanding centralised student accommodation at the heart of the University of Edinburgh.

Regional director at GRAHAM Construction, Neil McFarlane, said: “Securing this contract with one of Scotland’s most respected universities is a real boost for GRAHAM Construction, and the two-part dimension of refurbishing existing premises on site coupled with a new build construction poses an interesting challenge – one the team is looking forward to.

This latest project further underlines the strong relationship forged between GRAHAM Construction and the University in recent years.”

£406 million for affordable homes

All 32 of Scotland’s councils will share £406 million in grant subsidy in 2016/17 to deliver more affordable homes, over £100 million more than last years’ allocation.

It is part of the Government’s overall investment of over £572 million to the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) in 2016/17, the funding is allocated for each local authority area, which the Scottish Government refers to as Resource Planning Assumptions (RPAs).

The remaining £166 million will be managed centrally, with £80 million already announced to help up 2,000 first time buyers under the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme. The rest will go to other projects that promote innovation, greener homes and the Home Owners’ Support Fund.

The overall funding will support delivery of between 8,000 – 9,000 affordable homes, the first part of a £3 billion investment to deliver 50,000 homes by 2021, and an increase of 28% more homes than the average output in the last two years.

In addition to knowing their planning assumptions for 2016/17 Councils also need as much advance notice as possible of their full RPAs for 2017/18 and beyond.

The Scottish Government is now committed to a new offer of five year resource planning assumptions for councils following the 2016 Spending review.

Housing Minister

Keepmoat gets Salford Riverside housing scheme

A major new home scheme that will provide new housing choices and employment opportunities is set to get under construction in the Charlestown Riverside area of Salford.

Housing developler, Keepmoat has been appointed to deliver the £56 million master plan, which has been shaped by the local community, and will see 429 new riverside homes being constructed.

Working in partnership with Salford City Council, Keepmoat will provide a range of high quality two, three and four bedroom homes at an affordable price for local people as well as attracting new residents from further afield.

The landmark development, which covers 18 acres along the bank of the River Irwell, is expected to progress over an 8 year period and will deliver regeneration benefits to the local economy and community, including the creation of new training and employment opportunities for local people – both on site and through the supply chain.

Keepmoat is already working with Salford City Council on a major regeneration project in the Pendleton area worth £650 million.

More than 1,600 new homes are under construction and 1,250 homes are being given a makeover.

Gareth Roberts, operations director for Keepmoat in the North West said: “We are deepening Keepmoat’s strong relationship with Salford City Council and are delighted to now be delivering another ground breaking scheme for the region.

As part of the project, we will also be working with the Council and Great Places Housing Group to offer training and apprenticeship opportunities.”